Winter in the Okanagan means it is time to play – at the skating rink, on the ski hill or just in your own backyard, there are many ways to have fun in the winter. Whether or not your ‘play’ is competitive or recreational, you probably have two goals in mind: to prevent injury and to perform at your best. Your feet (along with what you put on your feet) provide the foundation for how the rest of your body aligns and moves. By understanding how the body moves you can begin to better understand how to give it the support it needs to be able to perform better and perform with less chance of injury.
How your feet move: Hockey and Skating
Skating requires power, control, and speed all of which generate from your foot pushing off the ice in a fluid and effortless motion. If, however, there is movement happening in your skates from overpronating, you can immediately lose a great amount of energy and force that would have otherwise gone into your stride. By supporting the arch, we can help to prevent the foot from dropping, making the push off more powerful and thus improving your technique and control. Skaters who have difficulty maintaining power and control when crossing over or in tight turns could benefit from having some form of over-the-counter or custom foot orthotic in their skates. But keeping your feet aligned doesn’t just benefit those who want to be faster on the ice, it can also help to stabilize your legs and position your muscles to be in a position that is most efficient for skating.
How your feet move: Skiing and Snowboarding
Similar to skating, skiing and snowboarding require a certain ebb and flow of movements to guide you down the mountain. When done properly, skiing and snowboarding look like an effortless dance down the hill, but don’t let the grace and beauty of this sport fool you, the stress and strain it puts on your joints can lead to many injuries. Having an over-the counter or custom foot orthotic fitted specifically for your boots can help to keep your body aligned while you hit the slopes and thus lowering your risk for injuries and improve your overall performance.
How your feet move: Snowshoeing and Walking
Whether you are an all weather hiker, enjoy long walks in the snow, or head up to the mountains for some snowshoeing, what you wear on your feet is crucial for comfort and performance. There are a few things to look for when finding the perfect shoe to take on your adventures. First, you want to make sure the shoe has good grip in order to keep you on your feet and not on your back. Second, you want to make sure that you have someone to properly fit you for your boots as there is no worse feeling than slopping around in a pair of boots that are too big or suffering through the agony of ones that are too small. Lastly, you want to find an option that is going to support you, which can come from the insole that is in the shoe or from an over-the-counter or custom foot orthotic. Having extra support under your arch can help prevent your feet from getting fatigued (or achy) thus allowing you to walk those extra miles.
In order to take advantage of all the beauty the Okanagan has to offer this winter, be sure to talk with one of our Pedorthists or knowledgeable team members and let us help you Move Well, Be Well.
Written by Shayla McLean B.H.K – Footwear Manager